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In a presentation about The Catcher in the Rye, what must be emphasized about Holden?

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irislirisl | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted January 20, 2013 at 5:10 PM via web

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In a presentation about The Catcher in the Rye, what must be emphasized about Holden?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 20, 2013 at 6:13 PM (Answer #1)

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While the original question had to be edited down, I sense that there are many different ways you could go with this idea.  I think that one of the first elements to emphasize is that Holden is a unique protagonist.  For the literature of the time period, a main character like Holden was rare.  To a great extent, he still is unique.  One of Holden's attributes is his spirit of independence from a conforming social order.  I think that any presentation about Holden would have to emphasize this.  His railing against "phonies" and hatred for those who are hypocritical is one of the most compelling elements about his characterization.  In any presentation about the significant element of Holden's character, I think that bringing this out is critical.  This is one of Holden's elements that we still see as a part of society today, for our eyes also see and perceive the phoniness and inauthenticity that he abhorred.  At the same time, I think that it is important to evoke the idea that Holden wanted to be free from this social order.  Yet, his disdain and hatred of it almost linked him to it forever.  Holden's characterization brings out how individuals can stand against elements, but if they become trapped by their own hatred, their entire foundation is undermined.  Certainly, Holden's own function is what helps to smother his surmise in a productive manner. It is for this reason that he wishes to be the "catcher in the rye" and for this reason that he holds Allie in such high regard.  Being able to bring out that some of Holden's greatest strengths are also the source of his greatest weakness can help illuminate interesting elements to Holden's character in a presentation.

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